Tuesday, December 21, 2010

If you've never been thrown up on, you're probably not a mom

"I Frowed up Mommy."  

The human body is full of many wonders and miracles.  One of those is its ability to fight off pathogens that seek to destroy it.  If a pathogen is found, and its design signals the body to purge the stomach in defense, we are presented with the contents of the stomach.  Again, and again, and again.  We can learn about it, hear about it, but until you have had the contents of someone else's stomach ejected onto you (and furniture and carpet,) the true depth of the experience will not be understood.  

There is a series of reactions we go through when it happens the first time. 
Disbelief:  "That did not just happen!!"
The internal "Ick" Factor:  "Nasty! Gross! Ugh! Get it off! Ew! Ew! Ew!"
Confusion:  "How am I supposed to clean this up?"
Whine:  "I want MY mommy!"
Action:  "I guess I'll get the paper towels...Pine Sol, spray Lysol,Windex, scrub brush, towels..."
Then back to "Ick":  "I don't want to touch that!!"  Fighting the gag reflex as you get elbow deep in the stuff despite your best efforts to remain unsoiled or to avoid further soiling.  
Resignation: "This is the situation, I will do what it takes to remedy it."

With each successive time, each reaction begins to fade or slow down, and eventually, thankfully, only Resignation is left.  Once we process our reactions, we can start to feel compassion, pity, empathy, and even sorrow for the sick person.  We begin to think clearly, plan ahead for the next time, and even take time out for some hugs and snuggling, yes, even sick people, need hugs, and if you're a mom who won't hug her sick children for fear of getting sick, shame on you!  Courage is a necessary ingredient of parenting.  Another necessary ingredient is an immune supplement, like Airborne, Emergen-C, Zicam, Echinacea, or dozens other virus-fighting products and herbs, like garlic, or zinc, or vitamin D.  So do take care of yourself, but also, be there for your kids.

To all you moms who have held a sick baby, I applaud you!  To all you moms who don't react with disgust to their throw-up anymore, because you've allowed yourself to experience it enough times, Thank You!  You are a champion to your children, and an example they will never forget!  You are not sacrificing for them, you are rising up to meet their needs, and you are rising in the process!  You are a Hero.  You are a Saint.  You are being blessed in ways you cannot imagine.  Good job!

If you are anyone who cleans the bodily excretions and fluids of anyone else, be it the elderly, the infirm, the handicapped, or children, THANK YOU.  You deserve all the praise this world can offer.  You are growing in ways you can't imagine, more and more each time.  You are a blessing; an instrument in God's hands, and you are so dearly appreciated, if not by the recipient, then by your Father in Heaven.  May God continue to bless you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Mortal Experience

Today a teacher asked a question that I've heard before, but needed to hear again.  She asked, "Do you FEEL as though you are a Human being, who occasionally has spiritual experiences, or do you FEEL as though you were a spiritual being, having a mortal experience?"

I have always heard that question as a sort of trivia question.  I always knew the right answer, so I just answered correctly, and went on.  But today I realized the question is about how we FEEL. There is no right answer!  So today this thought was heavy on my mind:  Perhaps I know better, but am I feeling like the cares and concerns of this life are all that matter?  Am I thinking about the larger picture at all?  Do I feel my own eternal spirit inside me, ancient and yearning for growth?  Do I see it in my children?

Last night I put my kids to bed.  I read them stories, I told them a scripture story, I prayed with them, and then I got ready to leave.  Kaylee was feeling insecure and asked me to stay a little longer.  I was tired, but I agreed, having a feeling she was only asking for what she needed.  She asked if we could sing a song together. ''I Know That My Savior Loves Me."  As we sang together, our voices blending, and our hearts open, we looked into each other's eyes.  We felt the spirit of that beautiful song.  I saw her singing with all her heart, as a testimony of her true belief and hope.  I admired her simple yet undying faith.  Her spirit seemed to rise and take comfort in those meaningful words.

She began to change shape before me.  First, she was a baby again, so little, so innocent, so hopeful, and then she was an angel, trusting in her God with all her heart.  I saw such purity that I was ashamed to meet her eyes.  I saw such power that I felt weak to my knees.  I forced myself to look into her eyes again.  I needed to see what was in there.  I saw such love and goodness that I wanted to hide.  I smiled lovingly into her eyes, but deep down I wanted to curl up and cry and beg her forgiveness that I ever lost patience with her.  I was ashamed that I ever didn't see her for who she really was.  I was embarrassed and sorry that I ever yelled or got irritated with such a beautiful daughter of God.  I told her what I saw.  I prayed with her right then, that she and I would help each other grow, and that as she did, that she would look to her Savior for her perfect example, and I would too.  I do not want to be the authority figure in my home anymore.  I want it to be Him.

Deepak Chopra, in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents:
            "I was the daddy, and they were the kids.  But there have been other, rarer moments when the whole facade fell away.  I've seen my son give me a glance that said, 'Here we are again.  What an interesting game we're playing this time.' I've seen my daughter smile in such a way that I just knew she was on the verge of laughing out loud at the masks we have put on to keep our roles alive.

"In those precious glances and smiles I felt the bond of innocence, which is more powerful than love because it transcends love.  Instead of just being here as a unit with its own private triumphs and failures, every family is a communion of souls.  What we have in common isn't where we live...We are sailing the seas of immortality together--that is the real bond.  When you can see past the role playing and still act your role with love and dedication, then I believe you are truly spiritual in your approach to parenting."

He also explains, "I don't look upon spiritual law as optional--this is how the universe works as it unfolds from pure, unmanifest Being to the infinite variety of the created world."  How true that is!  This is not some gimmick to try, or some parenting tricks to use on your kids to get them to obey.  When we understand ourselves and our families in context of our spiritual roles, our lives and the part that we play comes into the correct perspective.  We, and all our associations begin to change at the core.

If you feel mortal and occasionally seek some spiritual uplift, you are not alone.  I have been the same way.  But to live in the Spirit is to feel immortal and understand that for the moment we must care for mortal things.  The two perspectives are actually opposite.

Chopra, pg. 154 " Parents are used to being the authority figures.  As such, we are above and beyond our children--smarter, more powerful, more experienced, in command of money and property.  From this position of authority, parents have been able to pass judgement, to inflict punishment, to lay down rules of right and wrong, and to do so with a clear sense of duty and purpose.
     "This book has outlined a different duty and purpose.  In this...vision, a parent isn't an authority.  You and your child are both souls; you are both embarked on the journey of soul-making.  The only difference is the roles you have chosen.  All souls are immortal; they cannot be created or destroyed.  But we choose temporary roles to play.
       "The most good you can do for yourself spiritually is to play your role as parent with total love, conviction, and purpose...This role will uplift and inspire you more than any other.  The same is true for your child...your child has decided to be a weak, vulnerable infant...And yet both of you, if you strip away the role playing, are pure souls, equal as one.  Innocence enables you to see this, to play the role yet go beyond it."

As I write this, I know there are going to be many who read this and fight against this notion.  I know there will be some who will be offended at their authority being challenged.  I get that.  I feel it too a little.  When I abdicate authority to God, I become I child too.  We, my children and me, become siblings of our Father in Heaven, striving together to become what He wants us to be.  Then my efforts to teach them become acts of Charity, not assertion of my authority.  I of myself have no authority, I am only acting in His name.

These are the thoughts that are coming to me, I feel, as answer to many prayers, in order to help me along this process of a change of heart and soul.

Step ONE:  Become my child's equal, and lead out from compassion, not pride, fear, anxiety, or selfish desire.
"All men [women and children] are created equal."
"God is no respecter of persons."

Pride is the trap easiest to fall into.

When I think of my children as immortal and eternal souls, equal to myself, the fight goes out of me.  The anger, the frustration and the need to control dissipates, while love, acceptance, wonder and innocence slip reverently in.

Thomas S. Monson quoted in October 2001: "Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Great Britain, expressed the profound philosophy: “The family is the building block of society. It is a nursery, a school, a hospital, a leisure center, a place of refuge and a place of rest. It encompasses the whole of the society. It fashions our beliefs; it is the preparation for the rest of our life.”

Monson continues: "There will be calm and wind, sunlight and shadows, joy and sorrow. But if we really try, our home can be a bit of heaven here on earth. The thoughts we think, the deeds we do, the lives we live influence not only the success of our earthly journey; they mark the way to our eternal goals."

1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the atemple of God, and that thebSpirit of God dwelleth cin you?

I add,...and in your children? The powerful spirit I saw in my daughter can never be forgotten.  It is as though I saw God himself coming to the surface of my daughter's face.  I have never seen anything so beautiful, so wonderful, and so magnificent.  I have never realized my own deep horror at the thought of meeting God face to face in my sinful state.  I remember with tears that moment, such beauty that I could not fully look upon it.  It is truly beyond words.  

All young children possess the capacity to reflect God himself because they are without sin.  Find it in a young child, and you too will never be the same.  

Lying Softly tell me gently, whisper lightly, ever kindly.

Listen to my story young one.  You have uttered, I have wondered.  Wandering I'm searching for the innocence you sweetly plunder.

Oh can you understand my hunger for the love I see you offer.  Can you feel my longing for the joy I see that shines inside you?

My one--true love---my dear, small child.

'Come let me show how to dance in the winter and laugh at the clouds how they're changing the weather and see how the sun's brightly shining for you mother, and see how the grass gently blows in the summer!'

How can a one so innocent and pure ever know a thing of this cruel world?  
Light surrounds you, smiles abound you, wonder crowds you, beauty found you!

Joy is here!  Pick it up!  And understand the love of God.
Joy is here!  Place it in your heart.  And understand, the Joy of Love!
Joy is here!  Pick it up!  And you will understand the Joy of God!  God is Love!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Is This Your Ideal Life?

In the book "It's All Too Much" by Peter Walsh, he asks you the reader to look around your home; ask yourself, "Is this my ideal life? What does my ideal life look like?"; then after the vision is crystal clear in your mind, clear away everything that doesn't fit into that ideal. 

I would like to take that advice, and then take it one step further.  For some, a TV in the bedroom is cluttering their ideal love life.  For others, a lack of self control is preventing their ideal relationships.  For still others, a lack of understanding or closeness to Spirit is hampering their ability to feel compassion and love for others.  Each of us is unique, and our lives are all as imperfect and different as we are.  But for all of us, a lack of attention and consistent work will result in chaos.

Acknowledging Weaknesses, Compensating For Them

I was looking around my house the other day, and I snapped.  Have you ever done that?  I was just walking around, tidying, and as I told my kids for the umpteenth time to pick up their toys.  My daughter, the high-spirited one, tells me it's not her job, and I should just do it for her, and as I began to argue with her, I realized something very important.  This is not the life I want.  This is not how I want to spend my time.  Peter Walsh's words came back to me like a roaring wave, and I snapped. 
I went through the house gathering as many toys as I could find, even things that were put away, and I put them in the car.  I got rid of many, many things my children claimed to love, yet showed no respect for, and I informed them they were all going to charity.  I then went through my own things, starting with my shoes, and started throwing out and donating things I don't use and don't need.  It felt so good!  But something else was nagging at me that I couldn't quite pin down. 

I got rid of about 90% of their toys, loved or not.  You may think I'm nuts and say to yourself, "those poor kids!"  That thought did run through my mind briefly, but I pushed it away.  Christmas is next week.  At least 30 more toys are about to enter our house, so these kids will be fine.  

I know a great organizer.  She fits a large amount of stuff into her dust-free home which has few closets, and large empty spaces.  She is neat and tidy, with a place for everything, and everything in its place.  She is also not me.  I have no organization skills apart from  occasional bursts of energy.  I do not do well with daily maintenence.  So to make up for that, I need less stuff.  My goal here is not to tell you that you should get rid of all your kids' toys.  I am attempting to make an analogy.

I filled up the entire car, and sent it away with my husband this morning.  "Good riddance!" I thought to myself.  Away went all the source of the contention and stress in my home, right? 


Today I thought would be a finishing day, of finally turning the house into "My ideal life."  I was sure that the kids would be grateful not to be scolded for leaving their toys about.  I was sure that this would be a good day.


I dragged, humphed, and got highly irritated with my kids who fought nearly all day.  My daughter even taught the 2-yr-old some new moves, such as how to scream, "I hate you!" and kicking me during a tantrum.  It was when my daughter kicked me and ran to her room that I had to stop and ask myself once again, but this time with more thought, "Is this my ideal life?  What does my ideal family look like?"  I didn't have to imagine it, I just had to think back and remember.  What was different back then?  What was encroaching on that vision?  What needed to be cleared away? 


It was then that I realized that the toys, while they were cluttering up my home, my time, and my verbal commands, were not the SOURCE of the contention that has lately been sneaking into my home.  I am thankful that they were not there to be blamed.  This was not my children, or my husband, or simply life's hardships.  This was my doing.  I had lost my drive, my spirit, my intuition, my patience, and worst of all, my charity.  I had changed, and so my family followed suit.  It is time to apologize, and start again.

Reading My Own Blog

For the next little while, this blog will be centered around my attempts to change, to overcome negative reactions in mind, words, and body, and become positively pro-active, again.  To help with that, I am going to be reading my own blog, along with the scriptures, church literature, uplifting and helpful books, and striving to live only the good, while clearing away the bad.  This is where I will discover if my blog is actually helpful in helping someone change.  If it is not, changes will be made.  With God's help, I know I can do this.  I know without a doubt that change is truly possible, with a confession, a desire to change, true sorrow, and a broken heart before God.  I also know it will require Faith that my God is there, Hope that He will help me and that His help will be sufficient; and Charity, a gift of love that I must beg and pray and plead for, while allowing my heart to be open to it.

This blog isn't about me prostrating my life in front of everyone, setting up some sort of false ideal to be admired.  This blog is about real change, and wanting (and believing) that change can be permanent, in favor of kindness, patience, love, and godliness.  This blog is about beating family contention, and patterns of abuse, unkindness, impatience, neglect, and other mistreatments of children that are so often passed from generation to generation.  This is me telling the world: I need to change too, and I know it's hard, and I know it seems impossible, because I feel all of those things!  I have hope, because I have been there before, and I know I can be there again, with time, patience, and consistent daily effort.  I will let you know about the tools that help the most, and the ones that don't.  I will let you know how my family reacts, and most of all, all the inspirations that come to me during this process. 

I will end with a heartfelt plea.  If you are like me, PLEASE don't give up.  Please don't give in.  You have not failed if you have not lost hope.  If you feel anger, resentment, frustration, and pain, you are not alone.  If you feel hopeless, afraid, defeated, you are not alone.  If you feel defensive, self-righteous, even confused, you are not alone.  You are not alone.  All of us need help.  All of us need a change sometimes, and change begins with me.